Gilroy, Calif.-based pepper and napa cabbage grower-shipper Uesugi Farms recently started production of bell peppers, hot peppers and squash in Mexico and expects this season to be its largest ever, in terms of volume and number of loads crossing the border.

Uesugi expects to bring about 3,000 loads across the border before Mexico's deal ends in June, according to a news release.

Uesugi's Mexico pepper deal dates to 1998, with a small number of varieties of hot peppers and one grower in the

Ciudad Obregon area in the state of Sonora. Volume began to grow after Uesugi invested in that operation.

"We had a rough start in the beginning, but we didn't let that stop us," Uesugi's general manager, Pete Aiello, said in a news release.

The company invested in equipment and focused on post-harvest treatment of the products, Aiello said.

"By helping our grower secure the right equipment, we were able to turn 10 loads into 1,000 and grow our Mexican program every year," Aiello said in the release.

Today, Uesugi has expanded to include napa cabbage, squash and all varieties of peppers, including bells, and has a total of four growers in Mexico - three in Ciudad Obregon and one in Culiacan. The company grows on about 2,500 acres in Mexico, with plans for further increases, according to the release.

Uesugi moves its operations to Mexico each November.